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Can the Bennett-Lapid government last? And who comes after Abbas?

Prime Minister Bennett’s visit to the White House this week is a timely reminder of potentially new political dynamics in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks to reporters before departing Ben Gurion Airport for Washington on August 24, 2021 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks to reporters before departing Ben Gurion Airport for Washington on August 24, 2021 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the White House this week is a timely reminder of potentially new political dynamics in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli has just exited the whirlwind of four elections in two years, replacing long-serving Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu with an extraordinarily diverse coalition. Meanwhile, the PA has postponed its first planned election since 2006 and is still led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who is reportedly eighty-six years old.

For Israel, the question is whether the new government can survive the formidable challenges looming at home and abroad. For the Palestinians, many are wondering who will succeed Abbas and what will happen the day after he leaves the scene. To answer these questions, David Makovsky closes season 3 of Decision Points with political experts Ben Caspit, Tal Schneider, Ghaith al-Omari, and Ibrahim Dalalsha.

Ben Caspit is a senior columnist for the Israeli daily Maariv. He has worked as both a print commentator and radio/television anchor during his distinguished three-decade career, focusing on politics, diplomacy, military affairs, and the peace process.

Tal Schneider is the Political Correspondent at The Times of Israel’s Hebrew site, Zman Yisrael. Formerly, she was a diplomatic and political correspondent for the Israeli business daily Globes and a former Washington correspondent for Maariv. In 2012, she won the Tel Aviv Journalists Association Award for Excellence in Digital Journalism.

Ghaith al-Omari is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute and former executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. He also served as an advisor to the negotiating team during the 1999-2001 permanent-status talks and held various positions within the Palestinian Authority.

Ibrahim Dalalsha directs the Horizon Center for Political Studies and Media Outreach, a think tank based in Ramallah. Previously, he served as senior political advisor at the U.S. consulate-general in Jerusalem for two decades.

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“Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel’s history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel’s toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.

The host, David Makovsky, is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Koret Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.

The podcast is both a history lesson and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

Subscribe to “Decision Points” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

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